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Jezreel Corrales: ‘I am here to face the best’

Photo courtesy of Team Jezreel Corrales
Fighters Network
13
Jul

Jezreel Corrales will make his American debut when he faces Robinson Castellanos on Saturday at the Forum, Inglewood, California.

The slick Panamanian southpaw will make the second defense of his WBA junior lightweight title. The fight will be part of an HBO tripleheader and also mark the start of a promotional alliance with Golden Boy Promotions.

Much like countryman Orlando Salido, the unheralded Castellanos (24-12, 14 knockouts) has learned on the job and proved he’s better than his less-than-stellar record would have you believe. The 35-year-old Mexican earned his opportunity by stunning gifted Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa in May.

“First, I want to thank God for having the opportunity to fight in the United States with Golden Boy Promotions,” Corrales told RingTV.com through his promoter Rogelio Espino. “I am both motivated and happy for this fight. I know (Castellanos) is no easy boxer; that’s why I am training very hard to win this fight.



“It will be my first time in the United States. I am very motivated. I think that it’s a long and difficult journey ahead for me but not impossible. I am training to be the best in this weight division and earn my position in GBP.”

Corrales (21-1, 8 KOs) sprang to prominence when he stunned the then-longest reigning champion in boxing, Takashi Uchiyama, in April 2016, knocking the Japanese titlist down three times en route to the shocking second round victory.

He proved the first fight wasn’t a fluke, repeating the win several months later on New Years Eve, this time on points.

Corrales was such a big underdog in the first Uchiyama meeting that no TV channel in Panama showed the fight. Not even the second fight was aired live. Another factor in no outlet picking up the rights to air those fights was that they took place at 6 a.m. Panamanian time. Thankfully, the Castellanos fight will be aired on Channel 4, the oldest channel in Panama.

“We always knew that Uchiyama was a great boxer, strong and a heavy puncher,” he said. “Because of that, we trained very hard to keep always moving, to hit and don’t get hit.”

It left Espino deliberating his client’s next move. He decided that although his company Promociones Y Eventos del Istmo is the biggest in Latin America that he needed to sign his fighter with one of the power brokers in the sport.

He successfully negotiated a five fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions.

“I am very confident in Jezreel’s potential and I am sure that, through Golden Boy Promotions, he will have the opportunity to show to the world his class,” said Espino. “I am sure that the July 15th fight will be the first of many fights of Jezreel with Golden Boy and I am sure that, after this contract, they will want to sign another.”

Corrales hasn’t let the title win go to his head and remains level-headed.

“When I began my career, I wanted to be champion because I thought that, once I become champion, I will live better. I could help my mother and have a better quality of life,” he admitted. “Now that I am champion, I realize that I still don’t have what I need and I have to keep working even harder to get it. Being a champion has changed my life a little but, most important, I still don’t have it, so I will fight until I get it.”

To get what he wants, Corrales may have to face some of the other champions at 130 pounds. This isn’t a problem for him; in fact he welcomes the opportunity.

“I am here to face the best,” he proclaimed. “If I have to fight any of them, I won’t refuse but I will happily accept.

“Today I am focused on Robinson Castellanos. That is my opponent. I hope to win and then I can talk about fighting any of them because I do want to unify the belts.

 

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.

 

 

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